Sunday 30 September 2012

Another Month Gone!

September has flown hasn't it? My classes are all settled in nicely now.
This week, my beginners learned how to make half square triangles and I got a very much appreciated "wow" when I exposed the first HST for them. It might seem like the same old, same old sometimes, but what a kick I get out of seeing the pleasure on someone's face when they "get it".
Three of my other classes are doing Topsy, and everyone is doing a grand job with New York Beauties, Kaleidoscope blocks and foundation pieced Stars.
And my other two classes are planning their own piece of work, building up to it by learning the key elements of design.
A few weeks ago we were talking and playing with colour and I had made this sample block that I  thought made an exciting colour wheel exercise.
How excited I was on Thursday when two of the ladies had tried it out - neither had done EPP before - haven't they done well!!
                                                                                        Caryl's version.

Christelle's version

If anyone is interested in the pattern for this block let me know and I will put it onto Google Docs.
Meanwhile, a couple of snapshots of class in progress on Thurday.........

My week finished up today with a workshop - it was FMQ for those who had never dropped their feed dogs before! It's a pretty gentle intro to the world of fmq and some of those who attended today haven't even tried any sort of quilting before. They all gamely switched between embroidery feet and walking feet, getting to know their machines along the way. I had lots of fun, hope they did too.
Relaxing with a wee glass of red now.
October tomorrow.................

Tuesday 25 September 2012


It's all about balance isn't it? Posting too often, not often enough, having time to sew, prepping and running classes - I tend to be a bit obsessive by nature and always feel like something else has to give, while I am concentrating on other things.
I reckon the old multi tasking skills are waning a bit with age, will just have to make more lists.
So, because it's been a few days since my last  rant post, it looks like I have been on a spend fest........
It was a holiday weekend here in sunny Ayr - Friday was husband's birthday and as an extra special treat, daughter, grand-daughter & I took him to an extra large M & S near Glasgow.Wasn't that especially nice of us? He did score a yummy lunch so don't be feeling too sorry for him.
Saturday morning, early enough for an alarm call, we had a mini spot of babysitting duty as daughter felt the urge to tackle the Next sale, funnily enough only for baby clothes, and this - for her mum!
                                                Isn't this perfect for a sewing room wall?
Later in the morning I had to pop into Ayr town (to return all the stuff I got on Friday - (I hate clothes shopping)....I took the opportunity to pop into one of our local sewing/craft shops where I got rather excited by a small, but new range of linens & linen mixes......had to have some, it really would have been silly not to!
Meanwhile, the postie had delivered a couple of packages - when you teach P & Q, it is absolutely vital (yes, it is) to keep up with new trends, books etc................I added this to my collection -
I didn't look through it until Saturday night - what a treat.
The other package had this inside - this is one of Cindy's fat 1/8 bundles put together by Susan - called Sunrise.I plan to build a collection of Kona cottons and these wee bundles are a great way to start.Cindy's online shop is now my go to for Aurifil thread,and she is planning to increase her selection of 50wt which is perfect for piecing.
On the actual sewing front - I had my partner allocated to me in Mouthy Stitches 2 - The Tote Bag. I am delighted with the partner chosen for me and have been plotting and planning all weekend - in my head and on paper. We are all making a tote bag this time around and are following the same tutorial to keep things nice and simple. In swaps, we usually give and receive "extras" - it's often a little stressful knowing how much or little to include. Often it can be a little pile of scraps, or a pincushion, usually there might be a sweetie or some chocolate, very acceptable. In this swap we have been given guidance and are to make a key fob. It seems to be really hard to find a UK source selling the correct hardware - I found an EBay seller and ordered some a couple of weeks back - they arrived today and I am delighted.
I got these 10 sets including shipping for $10.09.
My other online activity is related to our new Bee, Bee a Brit Stingy - the Bee proper doesn't start until January but in the meantime we are getting to know each other by having a pincushion swap. We are each making for the Queen Bee in the month following our own - I am making for Nicky. Of course, we don't want to be giving too much away. I, for example, might or might not be including this fabric in her pinnie.
I almost finished making it today, but took a mini break and made a dribble bib for g/d, Ava, who might be heading for the Guinness book of records in producing drool.........

Pretty cotton, backed with a really fine, soft flannel that we used to sell in the shop - it is quite thin. As my mum used to say - "you could spit peas thro it"

Thursday 20 September 2012


Anyone out there getting more and more anonymous comments on their blogs?
I have been painstakingly deleting them without opening but this week decided to pop them into my spam folder - I have had 38 since Sunday.
I hate word verification but I get cross at all these emails, the spammers don't even have the sense to make their comments on recent blog post titles, so obvious that they are rubbish.
Recently I felt a bit empowered by taking action on the constant stream of telephone cold callers. We have been members of the Telephone Preference Service for ages but in the last couple of years this has not prevented these nuisance calls.
I signed up for BT Caller display so now every time the phone rings I check to see if it's a number I know - I get 5 or 6 a day where it says "Number unknown", "number withheld" or just a plain old number that I don't recognise. I don't answer and the call always stops after 3 rings, presumably their computer has found someone else who answers quicker.
So now I don't have to explain in detail why I don't want solar panels, a new kitchen or to make a claim for mis-sold financial whatsits!!
Now I just have to deal with doorstepper, not such a problem.

Climbing down from my soapbox now..........

Monday 17 September 2012

As one door closes.......

...another one opens! No more Zakka for me to sew along with, but instead I have jumped right into another sew a long, this time, with the lovely Leanne from She Can Quilt. We are following the Mod Pop pattern by Julie - {pattern available here}and for some inexplicable reason, probably to do with the size of our bed, I have opted to do the Queen sized quilt - eek!!
When I saw Leanne's version of this quilt, I was hooked. I know, all those curves, but sometimes you have to have a wee challenge in life.......
So today, I made a start on cutting into fabric - my choices were a bit serendipitous - I found about 3m of a creamy beige, just patterned and no more, fabric, in my stash - I don't really have large quantities of anything in my stash so this was a bonus.
Recently I bought some furnishing fabric to make a small Roman blind for our shower room, which is located just off our bedroom - both rooms are yet to be tackled in the general makeover that we have been undertaking since moving here 2 yrs ago. So, the fabric for the blind was kind of beachy, we live by the sea, so my colours were coming to me........add to the mix, a Lucy's Crab Shack charm pack, a Pure charm pack and I was off and running. I have added in some more yardage -
I don't think I have enough yet, but plenty to be going on with. My plan is to make my background scrappy, but co-ordinated, and the focal fabric, the cream.I don't know about others here in the UK, but a pattern calling for 7yds of anything is quite daunting from a cost point of view so I am happier going down the drips and drabs route.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, full of Monday morning vim & vigour, I set to and started the quilting on my Velocity strippy quilt. You might recall I am making this in three long sections & each section is double sided, comprising two of the Velocity prints.
So, some stats from today's wee session. The section is 2.25yds long and 25" wide. I used Aurifil 50wt cotton thread, colour 2600, a lovely soft grey that is perfect for this fabric - thank goodness for 1300m reels - I filled and used 3 bobbins.
I quilted 38 vertical, but not strictly parallel, lines - very liberating, no marking required.
And then I quilted 63 horizontal lines in groups of three - I will admit to getting "my skirt caught in my knickers" for a few inches along one side, but a few sweary words later, all was resolved.
 I love the look when straight lines cross each other, I think it reminds me of chocolate bars.
 For those interested in such things, I use Hobbs 80/20, love it, I pin but don't baste and I found this quilt panel did not "creep" as I feared it might, dealing with such length. I also ran my iron lightly over it before starting to quilt - I find it almost sticks the layers together.
And finally - towards the end of my 2.5 hour quiltathon, Lily, my beloved machine, was sounding a bit rough so it was time for a little TLC.
                                                   Almost as good as squeezing a spot!

Sunday 16 September 2012

The Final Fence

Last Zakka project this week and it was quite a time consuming one, have just managed to finish in time for the link up.
This week was a set of three nesting boxes. Some of the others had made comments about the construction technique in the book, and I have to admit I had read and re-read the chapter in the weeks running up to the finale and was thinking of adapting it. The final construction in the book was all done by hand and as they say in these parts, seemed a little footery.
I did think of making the outer box, and a  lining and turning the outer through the lining, a bit like a bag.
However I did want to make a nice firm binding to contrast with both outer and inner box so I made a quilted outer, a quilted inner and bound them together around the top with a single-fold binding. The result is quite a soft box but it stands up on its own quite happily.
 Once again, I used up remnants of my 1001 Peeps and instead of applique leaves, I chose to add letters - how thoughtful of my daughter to give her baby such a short name!
 On the other sides I appliqued hearts. I had just enough cream linen to make the three outer boxes and chose to machine quilt.
 And here they all are, nesting inside each other.
If I do these again, I might revert to the turning through method. I would make all the inner boxes a fraction smaller.I think I would add interfacing to the outer bag and not quilt the lining piece. It's all a bit of trial and error isn't it?
It's been a fun Sew A Long that has lasted 24 weeks, many thanks to Lindsey for hosting it, and thanks also to all the generous sponsors, especially, in my case, to Zipit as I won that particular prize.
For the final time, I am linking to Lindey's blog, LRStitched.

Friday 14 September 2012

Bee A Brit Stingy

Bee a Brit stingy
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Bee a Brit stingy"><img src="" alt="Bee a Brit stingy" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

I have huge pleasure in co-announcing a new Bee on the block -  Bee A Brit Stingy!
When other Brits formed a Bee last year I wasn't quick enough off the mark to join in. I love the way friendships have grown over the months and was really interested in perhaps joining a Bee.
I was a wee bit wary about some less than happy stories about members not coming through with the goods so I tentatively asked a couple of blog pals, Helen & Nicky if they fancied setting up a Bee with me.
For those of you reading this who are not familiar with the concept, a Bee usually comprises about 12 members. Each person is Queen Bee for a month and provides fabric to all the other Bees to make one or two blocks to her specifications. During the other months you would then make blocks for the other Bees.
Our Bee is going to be more frugal than normal - only to be expected from two Scots and a Northern Lass!!
We expect to make our blocks from scraps and stashes, trying our best to please the Bees with their colour preferences. I am sure we might have to buy an odd fat 1/4 along the way but no initial, large outlay will be required and we won't have to worry about losing precious fabric.

Nicky & I are taking part as Bees but Helen prefers to assist, and thank goodness for that - her techie skills are brilliant and she has come up with our brilliant button. Feel free to grab the link if you fancy it on your blog too.

The full list of Bees are -
Miss January - Lucy @
Miss February - Emily @
Miss March - Jan @
Miss April - Di @
Miss May - Catherine @
Miss June - Colette @
Miss July - Sheila @
Miss August - Nicky @ 
Miss September - Karen @
Miss October - Erin @
Miss November - Charlotte @
Miss December - Janet @ - Janet hasn't got a blog yet (we are working on her) but you might know her as jintymaginty on Flickr!

We have set up a flickr group where you might want to watch our progress. The Bee proper doesn't begin until January but in the meantime we are getting to know one another by having a nice, gentle, pincushion swap!!

SO excited!!

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Another Winning Scot........

So, Mr Murray wasn't the only success story yesterday.

Some of you might recall me posting this, a few weeks ago -
I made it with the intention of entering it into the Quilters' Guild Regional Day in Perth, last Saturday. I wasn't able to go in person but our local Guild Rep, Tricia, kindly took it along and submitted it for me.................
............and it came in FIRST!! Woo hoo, I am well chuffed.
And how brilliant to receive a rosette that matches my fabrics so well!!

Yesterday, I also received my free Spoonflower fat 1/4 - all it cost was $2 shipping, thanks to Susan for alerting me to the offer. I snapped up this gorgeous Princess & the Pea fabric, I love it.
And last weekend, I made some cushions for my impatient daughter - we had shopped for the fabric a week before and she seemed to think four new cushion covers would just miraculously appear. (By the way, The Cotton Print Factory shops are slowly beginning to stock quilting cottons, they have started with some Amy Butler @ £9.95m.)

So Tired, So Happy!!

Sunday 9 September 2012

A Few Good Things

I had meant to post a little sooner than this but you know how it goes, so I am just going to share a few things from last week. Of course I already posted about my super BQS3 Mini from Trudi.

I made a couple of Crazy Patchwork blocks for Judith's Bee Blessed.
I did a little shopping..............for Christmas makes - it's Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Christmas Pageant in Green by Marisa and Creative Thursday for Andover
and a little Lollipop by Sandy Gervais for Moda (and old line)
          that I bought to play with my little pile of Lucy's Crab Shack and Pure.........I am building a stash
                   because I am joining in with Leanne's Mod Pop sew a long and I plan a big quilt.

One of the lovely ladies in my class has spent several months in Canada this summer. I think she did a lot of border hopping and managed to fit in a little shopping for teech! Some new dies for Gordon, my Go!! Thanks again Denise.

Yesterday I managed to jump in and join Mouthy Stitches Part 2 - we are going to be swapping tote bags, looking forward to that one. This is my inspirational mosaic.

And this morning I managed to complete my penultimate Zakka project, the Happy Garland Memo Hoop. My photo appears a wee bit blurry but it's too late now to take another. I used up scraps of my 1001 Peeps and made it to match the bunting I made for grand daughter Ava's nursery, that also matched the quilt.....  

Now I need to go link up my hoop before I miss the deadline.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

A Good Day

One of the most exciting parts of taking part in online swaps is remembering that you too will receive something - the BQS3 swap has just come to fruition and I have been in all three.
Today I rushed to the front door when I heard the postie open it, and then the thump!! My mini quilt had soon as I saw the sender's name on the back of the package, I whooped out loud - it was from the super talented Trudi  and only yesterday I had left a comment on this flickr picture -
When I woke up this morning I thought about that quilt and wondered if it just might be on its way to me - and it was!! She has called it Sketchy NYB as all the coloured points are made from the very popular Timeless Treasures Sketch fabric, one of those clever understated prints that can be brilliant for adding texture to a quilt.

I really love how these colours sing against the background grey. Now I thought Trudi had quilted this baby on her long arm machine and I was rather chuffed to have something that had received this treatment - but she absolutely took my breath away when she told me she had done it using the normal, free machine quilting technique, it is exquisite. I took my mini along to class tonight - several of my students are doing NYB this year so they were so interested in seeing Trudi's version, and they too were in awe of her skills.
And here it is in my house, along with a lovely notebook with quilted cover and some yummy chocolate.
It's been a good day.Thanks again Trudi.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Can't Grow a Mo

If only that were true.......but I digress.

I read about Danielle's campaign on Lily's Quilts last week.Why don't you go on over and read her story - it's such a worthwhile cause and I have made a couple of blocks to throw in the ring.
I am sure most of us have been touched by cancer at some time, and I am happy to help in this small way to make a difference.

Sunday 2 September 2012

I Did It...

I'm talking about this week's Zakka project, the framed purse. I have been reading many enthusiastic posts on how addictive these framed purses are, I knew it was an upcoming project and picked up a lovely little frame while I was on holiday. It wasn't exactly the size required in the book.
Then on Monday we discovered the size in the book was a misprint and the correct frame was available online, from Canada I think - a bit late for completing within the week, so I downloaded the very comprehensive instructions on UHandbag, also read a good tutorial somewhere.
It would seem I needed to draft my own pattern.
The one in the Zakka book had pleats which in itself is not a problem but I couldn't figure out how to size my fabric correctly so just missed that out.
As one or two others commented also, there were no helpful, step by step pictures in the book either....hmmm.
So I got my fabric chosen from old scraps, thought it suited the frame. It said in the book to use wadding and interfacing but I was worried that might all prove a bit bulky so ditched the interfacing. I quilted the wadding to the outer fabric and constructed the purse body.
Almost gave up at that point - how it would fit the wee frame was beyond me...........but I persevered and had a go - the Guttermann glue is definitely the business, worth every penny.

I think it looks ok. I think I have made the body a bit too pouffy.

and I am not happy with the bit underneath the hinges. I think I should have re-stitched it to a better shape but couldn't face it.

and then, my daughter came round today and totally unprompted, declared that it was lovely and was a perfect evening bag size. I was quite chuffed.

Saturday 1 September 2012

August in pictures.

August has been a busy month for me - I have been keeping up with the Zakka Sew a Long and completed the Brit Quilt Swap 3 Mini quilt (just posted off Friday morning). I entered the Texting While Sewing competition and made some samples for class.I even got the knitting pins out!!

As always I am linking to Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day.


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